Maybe LDCs Aren't Being Inundated w/ Capital (Yet)

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 12/21/2010 02:51:00 PM
The general impression you get from certain developing countries is that easy money policies emanating from reserve currency-issuing ones like the unbelievably profligate United States are driving up their exchange rates and threatening to inflate various bubbles. It may be some surprise that, in 2009 at least, this scenario did not really happen as capital flows to the developing world fell from 2008 according to a just-released World Bank report:
Net global capital flows to developing countries fell 20 percent in 2009 to $598 billion (3.7 percent of gross national income [GNI]), from $744 billion in 2008 (4.5 percent of GNI) and were a little over half the 2007 peak of $1.11 trillion. This according to a new comprehensive dataset launched by the World Bank today on international capital flows titled “Global Development Finance 2011: External Debt of Developing Countries,” which reveals the impact of the financial crisis on 128 developing countries.

Global private flows (debt and equity) declined by 27 percent in 2009 despite a rebound in bond issuance, portfolio equity flows, and (mostly trade-related) short-term debt flows. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows across the globe fell 40 percent, to $354 billion - their sharpest drop in 20 years. All the largest recipients of FDI saw net inflow declines in 2009. Net debt flows from private creditors dropped by 70 percent from $182 billion in 2008 to $59 billion the following year, driven by the collapse in medium-term commercial bank lending to public and private borrowers.

Reflecting increased support to developing countries during the crisis, net capital inflows (loans and grants) from official creditors increased by 50 percent to $171 billion in 2009. This was driven by a sharp rise in gross disbursements on new loans extended by the international financial institutions. These rose to $98 billion (from $61 billion in 2008) in calendar year 2009, of which $31 billion came from IBRD and IDA, the highest in the history of these institutions.
It will be interesting to study the implications here when the 2010 figures come around: Did repatriation flows to distressed Western firms temporarily reduce capital flows to the developing world? Or, did the effects of free money policies kick in after a lag--especially once everyone recognized that countries like the US had no intention of shaping up anytime soon?